Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Question about teaching

Lady Elle

Recommended Posts

We've been looking around at other studios schedule for something that is more inline with my dd's ambitions and training needs. Went to a class and the teacher would take her foot and scoot my dd's heel forward to really close her 5th. My dd's 5th is almost heel to toe but she just kind of kicked her heel into place. Also during developpes a la second, my dd developes out from her turnout. The teacher came by and opened her leg up to be right out to the side (rather than slightly in front of her hip where her turn out is. To me, this seemed to be pushing the turn out. I think there is a point where a student needs to push her turnout in order to improve, but what do you think about this?


My dd came out of the class and said, "i'm not feeling it". Meaning, this isn't the studio that feels right for her. It has a great schedule. So what is more important? Enough classes with the appropriate pointe hrs for her age (16) or is it okay to give some of that up for really good quality classes?

Link to comment

I am not sure what your question is however I can tell you there are many ways to arrive at the goal. Since you are a parent looking through a window who may not have a professional knowledge of ballet, might I suggest that the teacher may have been searching a bit to see the drive of your DD, her physical potential and her interest to succeed in a particular class. While parents and students may feel the need to judge a class, may I remind you that most likely the teacher does have more knowledge than either your DD or you. One class is not the place to judge, it is the place to try to do what is being asked. The teacher has the responsibility of the class, not just to your DD. Perhaps the other students already knew how to achieve what was being asked of your DD. No thorough explanation is necessary to see if a DC has an interest to achieve.

Link to comment

Okay. Got it. So I guess my question would be - is there wisdom in staying with really good clean strong technical training but that doesn't really have the hours suggested (we good get those hours if we add in some advanced adult classes) rather than going to another place that might have a really great schedule but not necessarily as strong clean technique.


While I'm not as good as any seasoned ballet teachers, I'm pretty knowledgable about ballet and the various syllabi (? Plural), and what my dd's strengths and areas of possible injury are (and areas of familial dance injury that I hope to have her avoid). I was just surprised to see the manipulation of turning out her feet rather than asking her to rotate from the hip. The teacher loved her and invited her to be placed in the highest level.


Now, all that being said - our current director is working on next seasons schedule and has replaced the contemporary class with an additional night of tech followed by a point class So we are a bit less inclined to look elsewhere.


Thanks for your reponse.

Link to comment

If your DD feet are almost closed heel to toe and toe to heel, most likely the extra encouragement to close the 5th might encourage her to do so. Please forgive me, I do not remember the age of your DD, but if she was accepted into the advanced level, might I venture to say it might be time to just close that 5th. The habit of not closing the 5th becomes more difficult to change the older one gets. Generally speaking when a child decides it is time, the task is generally achieved. An advanced student should know already how to turn the legs out in the hip sockets rather than the feet and close to a professional 5th too.


Moving the leg opposite the supporting heel or hip does not sound like turning out from the feet.

Link to comment

Okay, i'll encourage her to do so. Thanks. Just a question too, isn't the weight evenly distributed in a fifth? So which leg would be the supporting heel? And shouldn't the weight be not really in the heels? I suppose this could just be a difference in technique and training but we both have always been taught to keep our weight out of the heel. Just the "skin of the heel" touching the floor. Anyway, this is getting off topic. Thanks again.

Link to comment

The question is a technical one that has an answer according to which methodology your DD is studying. Both heels do support in 5th. In Vaganova schooling the weight is distributed throughout the whole foot. The heels take as much weight as the toes and middle of the foot. In the closing of a tendu to the front, the toes lead the way to 5th. They must arrive simultaneouly with heel into 5th. In an intermediate and advanced level dancer, this flexibility and training should already be worked out, regardless of methodology. 5th positions are closed in todays professional world.

Edited by vrsfanatic
when typing on my cellphone, my spelling stinks
Link to comment

I agree with vrsfanatic above. I would also add that side and turnout are two separate issues. You pointed out that the new teacher adjusted your daughter's leg more to the side, instead of slightly forward. Side is a direction just like front and back. The amount of turnout you have and use will depend on strength and on the body's range of movement. Some dancers have been taught to bring the working leg forward in a la second to give them what appears to be a more turned out leg to the side. This is very common. I have taught with both of these methods. I prefer the student to work in the a la second or side direction and improve their control and strength of turn out in that direction. At first the leg may not appear to be as turned out but as the student gains strength, they tap into their body's fullest range of rotation. I've had much better long term results this way. Best of luck to you and your daughter in finding the best fit!

Link to comment

Okay - interesting. I've seen several girls coming to the studio with so many hip problems due to hypermobility mostly, I just don't want her to push something beyond what is helpful. Thanks.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...